From the Pastor – November 8, 2020

Now that the political campaigns are over, we can resume our liveswithout all the noise from those commercials. It seems that the politicalcommercials become nastier each year, regardless of what political partysponsors them.
As the weather gets colder and we move more of our activities indoors,the chances of contracting COVID-19 become greater if we don’t follow theprescribed protocols (mask wearing, social distancing and hand washing). Inaddition, the number of COVID-19 cases is rising, and that has an effect onwhat happens in the next few weeks. With Thanksgiving and Christmas not too faroff, families have already made decisions about gatherings which will be verydifferent than in past years. We all have to be vigilant in order to keep usall safe. This is a natural tie-in to today’s Gospel.  The five virgins who were prepared withenough oil to meet the bridegroom remind us of our need to be prepared, notjust for what happens in life, but for when the Lord returns again in glory. Wespend so much time and energy worrying about all we have to do each day that itis easy to lose touch with ourselves and with God. It is easy to become so consumedabout everything that we lose our perspective on life and reality. Sometimes webecome like the five foolish virgins who weren’t prepared for the arrival ofthe bridegroom and were frustrated when they couldn’t get any more oil fortheir lamps.
One of the lessons this pandemic has taught us is to be cautious aboutwhat we do, where we go, and the number of people we associate with at the sametime. But it has also taught us to be prepared so that we are not in asituation that can affect us negatively. This is especially true of parents whowatch over their children and their activities. It is so easy to do thingswithout thinking of the consequences, and that can create problems for us andour families. There has to be a different way to accomplish what we need to do andat the same time care for each other. Jesus has shown us how to do that, onlysometimes we tend to ignore his example. Pope Francis has resounded this for usin his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, which is a reflection of caring for oneanother, ourselves, our planet, and the resources the earth holds for us. We sometimesforget that we all occupy the same planet and that we are charged with itscare. In addition, Pope Francis reminds us to recognize the dignity of eachperson as a gift from God and that hatred, discrimination, racism and any othernegative attitude we have about one another have no place in our lives and thelife of the church.
We are entrusted to build the kingdom of God on earth, and we cannotaccomplish this mission if we don’t understand that we are challenged to worktogether to accomplish this. We are the sign of Jesus on earth, and as such weare invited to reflect the values for which he lived and died. These includemercy, compassion, equality, the dignity of each person, as well asforgiveness. These have to be part of who we are and how we live if we want tobe authentic witnesses of him.